Frida Asp and Fatima Varhos are working on Netflix’s Swedish series Barracuda Queens and Deliver Me based on a book by Malin Persson Giolito.
Asp Varhos is the new indie production outfit to watch out for in Sweden, headed by Frida Asp and Fatima Varhos that boast a stellar pedigree.
Before setting up their own company in 2021, the female production duo had worked for the last 6-7 years on some of FLX’s biggest TV brands, from SVT’s The Bonus Family, C More-TV4’s The Simple Heist, produced by Asp, to the jointly-produced Netflix shows Quicksand, The Unlikely Murderer and Love & Anarchy.
“Our work experience at FLX on those big shows has been a fantastic learning curve”, says Asp. “Yes working on several projects at the same time and on a fast pace with Netflix, has been a big step up for us. It’s been thrilling to be at FLX when the industry was riding on a TV drama boom,” adds Varhos who was Head of Drama at FLX before going solo with Asp.
Now masters of their own editorial choices through Asp Varhos, the partners will continue to work on high quality scripted content but on a smaller slate. “We want to be close to the talents and do only a couple of projects a year,” explains Asp.
“We are like a boutique company, focusing on a handful of quality projects, across different genres, formats and budgets,” continues Varhos who is thrilled to underline that their first production - Barracuda Queens is an original idea.
“Basically, we were having dinner with Camilla Ahlgren [writer of The Bridge, Quicksand] and the three of us started to brainstorm ideas. Fatima said she liked heist series, with girls in the lead. Then a year ago we chatted with Netflix - they said we’d like to do a heist type of series and we said - we have something!” Asp recalls.
The 6x45’ series Barracuda Queens is loosely based on true heists committed in the mid-1990s by a group of well-off guys -‘Lidingöligan’ (The gang of Lidingö) who stole from private homes in Stockholm’s exclusive neighbourhood, expensive wine, art, furniture, jewellery.
In the series, the all-female gang the Barracuda Queens consists of disaffected teen girls who, bored of their privileged lives in an affluent Stockholm suburb, become involved in house burglaries, targeting their naive rich neighbours. By day they are high-achieving students and daughters, and ruthless thieves by night.
”Our ambition is to create something fun, challenging and fresh, and at the same time, tell a story about the times we live in, with five smart upper-class girls from Djursholm who know no limits as the main characters”, said head-writer and co-creator Camilla Ahlgren.
The show is co-written by Sofie Forsman and Tove Forsman (Young Royals) as well as Veronica Zacco (Top Dog, Burn All My Letters). Director Amanda Adolfsson is reunited with the young actresses Alva Bratt and Sarah Gustafsson from SVT’s teen show Eagles. They are joined by newcomers Tindra Monsen, Sandra Zubovic, and seasoned actors Izabella Scorupco, Johannes Kuhnke and Carsten Björnlund among others.
Filming is underway and the premiere on Netflix is set for 2023.
Asp Farhos’ other Netflix series Deliver Me is based on Quicksand author Malin Persson Giolito’s eponymous novel, published in February.
“We had a great collaboration on Quicksand and were very excited when we heard that Malin’s new novel was finally being published,” said Varhos, praising the Swedish author’s skills in writing heartfelt suspense stories.
Persson Giolito will be making her screenwriting debut, with support from head-writer Alex Haridi (Love & Anarchy), and episodic writer Amanda Högberg. Anna Zackrisson (Snow Angels) will serve as director.
The suspense drama in development is both a portrayal of the power of childhood friendship, and a topical depiction of youth gun-related crime, which raises questions of who bears responsibility when a child has committed the crime. “The series is very relevant in Sweden where we’ve seen a dramatic surge in shootings in recent years,” notes Varhos.
The 6x45’ series is due to start filming in 2023, with a premiere on Netflix set for 2024.
Asp and Varhos said they have several other projects in development with other broadcasters and a feature film also in early stages of development.